Tuesday, October 24, 2006

German Mediation Between Israel and Hezbollah

The indirect negotiations between Israel and Hezbollah for a prisoners exchange are going on and a man who has a key role is a German intelligence agent, Der Spiegel reports. This is not the first time the Germans have worked on such an exchange since negotiations few years ago led to the release of an Israeli businessman and the bodies of three Israelis soldiers with hundreds of Arab prisoners in January 2004.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Al-Qaida After September 11.

The war on terrorism did not destroy al-Qaida but on the contrary the group now is stronger than it was five years ago, a terrorism expert says.
Bruce Hoffman of Rand Corporation tells Spiegel Online that it is not clear if Osama bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahri are still the ones ordering the attacks but that there is a command functioning from Pakistan's region of Waziristan.
read the interview.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Israel, Syria and Iran

The Sunday Times quotes political and military sources in Israel as saying the Jewish state is preparing for possible war with Iran and Syria. The paper said the war in Lebanon led to a rethink in Israel that too much attention was being paid to the Palestinians.
Read the article.

Bassem Mroue
Cairo Sept. 3, 2006.
8:50 p.m.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Olmert Seems To Be Going To Lose His Job

The war in Lebanon appear to be going to cost Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert his job. Most Israelis are not happy with the results of the 34-day war that did not achieve its main goals of returning two Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah on July 12 as well as destroying the militant Lebanese group.
Army Chief of Staff Dan Halutz said this week he is willing to take responsibility for the war. He added that there will be an investigation.
In Lebanon, European countries have promised to send more than half the 15,000-member peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon after France and Italy alone said they will send 5,000 troops. The Lebanese government welcomed the European step.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Will Israel Attack Iran's Nuclear Facilities?

Will Israel hit Iran's nuclear facilities on its own? The Jerusalem Post has a story on the issue and quotes a "senior source" as saying that if the United States is to take action it wont be until the spring or summer of 2008, few months before presidential elections.
This means that Israel might repeat what it did to Iraq's Tamouz nuclear reactor in 1981 that was bombed while under construction.

Bassem Mroue
Beirut August 24, 2006.
8:45 p.m.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Israel Releases Hassan Nasrallah

Three weeks after capturing him along with four other men near Baalbek, Israel released Monday Hassan Deeb Nasrallah and his colleagues who arrived home late in the day. The released man carries the same name of the Hezbollah leader but the middle name differs.
From the first day of the August 2, capture in a commando operation, Israel had been saying that the five were Hezbollah members, a claim that the group kept denying.
After the release of the five, one of the men, Bilal Nasrallah, said the Israelis thought he was the son of Hezbollah's leader.
The raid to capture the five left 19 people dead.
As-safir interviewed the men after they returned home.
Bassem Mroue
Beirut Aug. 22, 2006
11 a.m.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Will The Latest Israel-Hezbollah War Lead To Peace?

The 1973 Arab-Israeli war lead few years later to peace between Israel and Egypt. The 1991 Gulf War was followed months later by the Madrid peace conference. In 1993, the Palestinians signed a peace agreement with Israel and Jordan became the second Arab country to sign a peace treaty with the Jewish state a year later.
The question today is whether the 34-day war between Israel and Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group will lead to a peace agreement in the near future.
Less than a week before hostilities ended, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan are planning to put forward a peace plan to the U.N. next month.
At the same time, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni appointed Yakov Dayan to be a "project manager" for possible peace talks with Syria.
Peace talks between Syria, Lebanon and Israel have been stalled for six years.
In 1993, just after the Oslo agreement was signed I was chatting with a colleague in Cyprus about the future of the Middle East and we were both wondering how the region will look like 10 years later. We thought the future will be better and that decades of war were coming to an end and the people of the region will start living an era of stability.
We were wrong. Thousands of people have been killed since then.
Lets hope that the future is better this time.
Bassem Mroue
Beirut August 20, 2006
10:30 p.m.